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terview that morning at the chateau, she had not | tramping—or would you that we spend the night yet got over the shock; nor could she find any in this uncomfortable spot ? Ugh! it is combalm of consolation to pour on the fresh wound. fortless—but sorrow makes one peevish—when At last the poor abandoned boy yielded to his you ’ve known as much of it as I have, you will despair, and, finging himself down on the stones, be tougher than you are now !
What will you howled and shrieked in the very convulsion of do?-remain here~well—I am willing—not that agony. It was awful to behold the anguish of I like it, but on a day like this, how can I refuse the untrained mind. Not for a second did he you anything?" grasp
the notion that the object of his fantastic “I won't go with you," said the boy, resoluteterror was connected with him in the way the ly. count had described ; but the idea that her malig- “Then, where will you go, pray?" nant sorcery had prevailed at last, and that now “ Return to the chateau-to my good Seraphinshe had got possession of him, she would transform ka—the only friend I have left in the world—she 'll him into something horrible, or make the world take care of me.” believe that he was her son, force him to toil and “ You have yet to learn the ways of the world, carry weights—vague and wild notions, in short, my boy. Seraphinka would no sooner know you drawn from the “Arabian Night,” struggled with to be what you are than all her boasted friendship the still more appalling reality, as a nightmare were at once forfeited ; her kindness was for the contends with our waking senses. The misery heir of Count Stanoiki—to her future lord, and of childhood is more exquisite, though less last- not to the son of the despised Jakubska! If you ing, than that of after years ; because the tender return to the castle in that character, the very mind has not the power to encompass its sense of stable boys will hoot at, and set the dogs on you ! misfortune; the child is overwhelmed by its in- No, no; you have yet to learn a lesson or twocapacity for action—the feeling of its utter help but those lessons will come fast enough now." lessness—of its being, as it were, but a mere ball “I'll not move a step with you!” in the hands of others.
Well, then, I'll spend the night here with Jakubska suffered this crisis of nature to have you." full play.
She sat herself on the stone steps, and “I'll appeal to the protection of the first passersoon became absorbed in thought; so absorbed, by-don't think I am afraid of you, old witchindeed, that she was not aware how swiftly time for I am sure you are a witch. I will not go with sped. The very excess of the boy's passion soon you, I tell you. I will not cease to be a count. exhausted it, and he sat at as great a distance as I will not be a churl—so you may just say and do he conveniently could from her he so much dreaded, what you please.” with his face buried in his hands, his elbows rest- Jakubska at a single glance perceived the diffiing or his knees, hoping, poor child, that the culty of her situation, but she was keenly alive to weariness, the sickness of heart that weighed him the consequences of neglecting the count's injuncdown, was the harbinger of that repose to which tions, and felt, for the child's sake as well as for his best friend had been consigned a few days ago her own, she must find means to conquer his ob—the first sorrow is a thing so new; and this was stinacy; suddenly a bright thought occurred to worse than grief, it was a catastrophe !
her. “ Now," said the woman, rising and shaking “ You say truly, my son, I am a mighty witch; the rain from her cloak, as if it had been but morn- and if you do not obey me, I will utter a spell so ing dew, so light did she seem to make of her potent that you will be bound to that stone on wetting--"now, Pavel, we must move forward, which you sit, and the murdered man who lies or we shall not arrive to-night where we must go, beneath, and the murderers gibbeted above, shall though we are not expected--but we'll make our come and howl throughout the night around you ! own welcome. Come," she continued, “ do not Now, choose if you will stay. Nay, I see in look so wild—you must go with me- —it's true, your eyes you think of running back to the castle though you are my own flesh and flood, I can't in spite of me; but if you attempt to stir, I shall first expect you to feel for me what I feel for you ; make you halt of one foot; if you persist, I 'll make and I am not astonished that poverty frightens you you blind of one eye-nay, if you move but one that you 'd rather be a lord than a serf. I had inch,” she added, with flashing eye, “ look here!" myself destined you for another fate, but Heaven and she drew forth a long knife from her girdle. would not permit it-however, I shall take care Leon was as brave as most children of his years ; my brave boy is not lowered down to work like a but he was barely eleven. His nerves had recommon peasant. I'll beg, or, for that matter, ceived a shock, and he had been bred in the midst steal, before it comes to such a pass. No, no; of superstition ; not, indeed, but the count was you need not be afraid—be of good cheer, my son. quite free, and the countess slightly affected by Your fall has been great; but comfort yourself, such considerations, but the servants generally, and yours is not the only heavy heart to-day-yon proud Seraphinka in particular, were deeply imbued with man does not bear a light one in his bosom! I all sorts of delusions; and the latter, as we have say, Pavel—for I must tell you you are christened seen, had imparted much of her way of thinking to Pavel, and not by that French name they used to Leon. So, terrified at last by the woman's energy call you by up there in the castle--we must be l and alleged power, he rose and followed her.
whether the sky was clear or clouded. They
seemed to forget what they never had. But, as BY THE COUNTESS D'ARBOUVILLE.
to myself, on entering this gloomy and smoke-cov(For the translation of this story we are indebted to ered place, I invoked the remembrance of all the the Boston Atlas. There are some phrases in it which days of sunshine in which my life had been passed will not be approved of by our readers, but they are not of hours spent in the open air, with a clear sky the less natural because they are wrong, and because they above me, and unbounded space before me. At are so French.)
this moment, I thought with thankfulness of what I am simply going to relate an event, of which I had, until then, regarded as the common gists to I was a spectator. It is one of the melancholy all mankind — light, air, the horizon ! reminiscences of my life—one of those impres- I had resided eighteen months in this town, sions to which the soul looks back with gentle and perhaps was about to murmur at my long sorrow in the hour of discouragement. It diffuses captivity, when what I am now going to relate an indescribable renunciation of the too vain hopes occurred. of this world—a self-denial, which appeases the To gain one of the gates of the fortifications, I murmurings within us, and summons us to silent found it necessary, when taking my daily promeresignation.
nade, to go down a small alley, the ground of If ever these pages are read, I do not wish it to which, being dug in the form of steps, to render be by those who are happy, quite happy. There its ascent more easy, gave it the resemblance of a is nothing here for them ; neither invention nor staircase. Passing through this narrow and ob
But there are hearts that have known scure alley very frequently, my reflections far in affliction, that have dreamed of joys that are gone, advance of my steps, I thought only of the fields I and are prone to a quick-coming sadness ; who if, was going to find ; but one day, by chance, my in passing, they catch but a glimpse of a sorrow- eyes fell upon a small house which alone appeared • er, or a sound of suffering meets their ear, they to be occupied. It was only one story high, with stop, listen, and pity. To such, I can speak- two windows; between those windows a door, almost at random-and tell a history, simple, like above them a loft. The walls of the house were all that true ; touching, like all that is sim- painted a dul
gray color. TH
windows were ple.
composed of a thousand small squares of a thick In the North of France, near the Belgian fron- and greenish glass. Daylight could never pentier, is a very small, obscure, unknown town. The etrate them, to brighten with its rays the interior casualties of war have caused it to be surrounded of the dwelling. The alley was so extremely with high fortifications, which seem to crush the narrow, too, that the sun never appeared there. wretchedly constructed houses within their enclos- A perpetual shadow hung over it, making the at
Never, since the erection of this line of mosphere always cold there, even when it was walls, has a single hut been built upon the green quite warm elsewhere. lawn beyond them ; and, as the population of the In the winter, when the snow was frozen upon place increased, they built upon the public squares, the steps of the alley, it was impossible to make a or blocked up their streets. Space, regularity, single movement without danger of falling. Thus comfort, all had been sacrificed. The houses, it had become a deserted way, which I alone travthus huddled together, and hemmed in by high ersed daily. I do not remember ever to have met walls, presented to the view, at a short distance, any person in it, or to have seen a bird alight, the appearance of a large prison.
even for an instant, upon the crevices in the walls. The climate of the North of France, without I hope, I said to myself, that this sad-looking abode being extremely cold, is very gloomy. Humid- is inhabited only by persons who have almost arity, fog, clouds and snow, obscure the sky, and rived at the term of life, and whose withered bodcover the earth with ice, during six months of the ies can no longer know sorrow or regret. It would year. A dense and black smoke, rising above be frightful indeed to be young there ! each habitation, added still more to the gloomy The small house remained in silence. No aspect of this small northern town.
sound escaped from it; no movement could be Never will I forget the chilling impression of perceived in it! It was as quiet as the tomb ! sorrow that I felt when crossing the drawbridge And every day I asked myself, Who in the world which served as an entrance to it. I asked my can live so ? self, with a shudder, if it were possible that there Spring came. The ice in the alley was changed could be beings who were born, and might die to dampness ; dampness was succeeded by a dry there, without knowing anything of the rest of soil; and then a few blades of grass sprung up the world! There were, in fact, those whose near the base of the walls. The small corner of destiny was such. But Providence, whose boun the sky, of which you could just catch a glimpse, ties are concealed even in the privations which he became more clear. In fact, even in this obscure imposes, had made it necessary for the inhabitants passage, spring let fall a shadow of life. But of this place to labor—to labor to acquire even the small house still remained quiet and motioncomfort; and, by this means, took away from less. these poor, disinherited children, the time which Toward the month of June I was taking, as might otherwise have been occupied in regarding customary, my daily walk, when I beheld (excuse
the expression) with heartfelt sadness, a small bo- saddened, might have seemed to possess a charm quet of violets in a glass, upon the sill of one of beside the dense blackness of her hair. She inthe windows in the house.
clined over her work. She was thin, or attenuAh! I exclaimed to myself, there is some one ated. Her hands were white, but rather bony here a sufferer!
and long. She had on a brown dress, a black To love flowers we must either be young, or we apron, a small white collar-all plain—and the must have preserved some sweet remembrances of bouquet, which had bloomed two days at the winyouthful days; we cannot be completely absorbed dow, almost hidden in a fold of her corsage, was by the material world ; we must possess that there, that not even a breath of its last perfume sweet faculty of doing nothing without being idle ; might be lost. to muse ; to call to mind things passed away; to She lifted up her eyes, and saluted me. I saw hope. In the enjoyment which the perfume of a her better. She was still young ; but she had apflower gives, there is a peculiar refinement of proached so near to that moment when we cease the mind. It is something ideal ; a fragment of to be so, that this last adieu to youth was sad to poetry gliding in the midst of the realities of life. look upon. She had evidently endured muchWhen in a humble and laborious existence 1 find but probably without a struggle or a murmura fondness for flowers, I always suspect that there almost without tears. Her countenance wore the must be a struggle between the necessities of life expression of peace, of resignation and calmness ; and the instincts of the soul. It seems to me that but it was the calmness which follows death! I I know how to address, that I could almost gossip imagined that she had never known any very sewith any one who cultivates a simple flower near vere shock, but that her soul had languished a her cottage door. But now this boquet of flowers long while, and her hopes had died away; that saddened me. It said, here dwells one grieving she was not broken-hearted, but dejected—bent for the air, and the sun, and happiness ; one who down—then levelled to the earth, noiselessly and feels all that is denied her; one so poor in enjoy- without pain. ment that I, a poor boquet of violets, am a joy in Yes, her appearance, her expression, her attiher life!
tude, said all this. There are some persons who I regarded these flowers with melancholy. I look at you without saying a word, and whom you asked myself if the darkness and the cold which never forget to have met. pervaded the narrow alley would not make them Each day I found her at the same place. She fade quickly away—if the wind would not blight saluted me; and, in time, she added a sad but them? I felt an interest for them. I would have sweet smile to her salutation. This was the only been happy to have preserved them a long time to glimpse I could catch of the existence of the fethe person, whoever it was, that loved them. male whom I constantly saw seated at the win
The next day I returned. The flowers showed dow. a day's additional existence. They were with- She never worked on Sunday. I believed she ered, and their colorless petals curled back upon then walked out, for on Monday there was always themselves. Yet they still retained a faint per- a small bouquet of violets at the window. But fume, and they had been taken care of. Ad- they drooped with the following days, and were vancing, I saw that the window was partly open. not replaced until after the end of the week. I A ray, I will not say of supshine, but of light, thought, moreover, that she was poor, and that penetrated the house, and left a luminous trail she worked in secret for her livelihood ; for she upon the chamber floor; but on either side of it embroidered most beautiful and rich muslins, and the obscurity was even more intense, and I could I never observed any change from the most humdistinguish nothing.
ble simplicity in her dress. In fact, she was not The next day, again, I passed. This was al- alone in the house, for one day a rather imperious most a summer's morning. The birds were sing- voice called out, “Ursule!” and she rose huring; the trees were covered with buds; a thou- riedly. The voice was not that of a master's. sand insects were buzzing in the air. Everything Ursule had not obeyed as a servant obeys. There was dancing in the sunshine. Joy was almost was an indescribable sort of willingness of heart everywhere. Life was in all.
in the precipitation with which she rose ; and yet One of the windows of the small house was the voice had no expression of affection! I thought thrown wide open.
that Ursule, perhaps, was not loved by those with I approached, and saw a female seated at work whom she lived ; that she was even treated harshnear the window. The first glance I cast upon ly—while her sad and gentle nature was attached her added to the sadness with which the aspect of to them, without receiving any kindly return. this dwelling had already inspired me. I could Time passed on, and each day I initiated mynot guess her age. She was no longer young; self deeper into the existence of poor Ursule. she was not handsome, or she was no longer so. Yet I possessed no other means of divining ber She was pale, from sickness or sorrow—I could secrets than passing day before her open not divine which. It is certain, however, that her | window. features wore a sweet expression, and that the ab- I have already said that she smiled when she sence of bloom might arise from grief as well as
A short time aster, during my walk, I from years; that her pallor, if her heart was not commenced to gather a few flowers; and one
morning, timidly, and with some little embarrass- which might have been absorbed in the occupament, I deposited them on Ursule's window. Ur- tions of the day, excited by trifles, and talking for sule blushed, and then smiled even more sweetly the love of talk !- But in this house He than usual. Each day after that Ursule had a had forgotten a melancholy, a dreaming, and exbouquet. In a short time, among the wild flowers alted maiden ; one divining life, imagining its in the fields, I mixed a few from my own garden. joys, and loving it even in its sadness ! He had Then there were bunches of flowers in the win- made her heart an instrument capable of yielding dow, and in Ursule's belt. In fact, it was a the most delightful tones, and had then condemned spring-time, a summer, for the small gray house. it to an eternal silence !
It happened, when returning home one evening, Alas! the fate of Ursule was still more sad that a shower of rain began to fall just as I was than I had supposed it, when, seeing her paleness passing this narrow alley. Ursule flew to the and dejection, I believed she was suffering from door of her dwelling, opened it, took my hand, some disease. She had never been unwell in her made me enter and, when we were in life.
Not once! the passage which adjoined the chamber that she She had seen time carry off, day by day, her habitually occupied, the poor girl seized both my youth, her beauty, her hopes, her life; and still hands, and with tears starting into her eyes, she there was nothing to look back on, nothing to hope said to me: “Thank you !".
for, only silence and forgetfulness ! This was the first time that we had spoken to I often returned to see Ursule ; and, one day, each other. I went in.
seated with her near the window, she gave me The room in which Ursule worked was the par- almost in the following words, her history: lor. The floor was made of red tiles, which “ I was born in this house ; I have never left it; almost froze your feet. A few straw chairs were but my family do not belong to this country. W. the only seats there ; and two old pier-tables orna- are strangers here, without relations or friends mented either end of the room. This long, nar- My parents were not young when they married ; row room, being lighted only by the small window and, when I first remember them, they were quite that opened on the alley, was dark, cold, and old. My mother became blind. This misfortune damp!
had a great effect upon her character, and conseOh! but Ursule was right to sit near the win- quently my father's house was always very ausdow, seeking a little air and a little light to live tere. I never sang in it! No person was ever on! I now understood the cause of the poor girl's happy here. My childhood was passed in silence, paleness. It was not from her bloom that had for the slightest noise was prohibited. It was faded, for her bloom had never existed.- rarely that I ever received a caress. My parents She was etiolated, like a plant that has sprung up loved me, however, but they never expressed their in the shade.
feelings to me; I judged their hearts after my In an obscure corner of the room, in two arm- own ; I loved them, and I concluded that they loved chairs, more comfortable than any of the others, me also. Yet my life was not always so sad as it I discovered two persons whom the darkness had is now. I had a sisterat first prevented me from seeing. They were an Ursule's eyes were moist with tears : but the old man and a woman almost as old as he. The tears did not flow; they were accustomed to woman was knitting, away from the window, but remain hid in the poor girl's heart. without seeing-she was blind. The old man did sumed : nothing but glance about, in front of him, with a “ I had a sister, older than myself. S!e was fixed and senseless stare. Alas! he had lived be- rather silent, like our mother ; but she was comyond the allotted limits of life, and his body alone passionate, gentle, and affectionate to me.
We existed. It was impossible to regard this poor loved each other.- We shared with each other old man without observing that he had fallen into the attention that our parents required. We second childhood.
never had the joy of walking together, below It may often be remarked, when life is much there, in the woods or up on the hill-side. One prolonged, that the soul, fretted at her too long of us always remained at home to take care of captivity, seeks to be disengaged from her prison our old father ; but the one that went out always house, and, in her struggles to be free, the cords brought home to the other a few branches of of harmony are rent. Her dwelling-place is dis- hawthorn, gathered from the hedges, and spoke quieted! She is no longer a portion of it; but she to her sister of the sunshine, the trees, and the is no longer where she should be !
air! The listener would fancy that she had also All this was hidden, in the small gray house, left the house; and then, in the evening, we with its isolation, its silence, its gloom! A blind worked together near the lamp. We could not woman, an imbecile old man, a poor maiden fad- talk to each other, for our parents were asleep ing away before her time, whose youth had been beside us ; but when we raised our eyes we met, oppressed, had been absorbed in the care of her on the face of the other, a gentle smile. We aged parents, and by the old walls which retained then went up to bed, in the same chamber ; but her in captivity!
we never went to sleep until an affectionate voice Yet Providence might have given Ursule a often repeated :- Good night! go to sleep, limited understanding, an active management, sister !' CCLXXXII.
“ God might have left us together, do you not “Do not believe that I at once accepted this think so ?- But I do not murmur ;-Marthe bitter destiny resignedly. No; there were whole is happy, up there!
days when my heart revolted at the idea of grow“I do not know if it were the want of air, of ing old without loving. Not to be loved may be exercise, or still more the want of happiness, endured ; but not to love, is death! Shall I which planted in Marthe's breast the first germs avow it to you? I murmured at Providence ! of disease ; but I saw her become weak, lan- My guilty thoughts revolted against and reproached guish, and suffer. Alas! I alone was uneasy for him ! her! My mother could not see her, and Marthe “ But this inner strife has passed away, like never complained. Father had already become as my hopes. I think of Marthe's gentle words: insensible as you see him now. It was not untils. We will meet again, my sister!'- and no some time after she drooped that I could prevail feeling remains in my breast, but of passive resigupon my sister to call in a physician.
nation, of an humble abnegation of self. I often “ But there was nothing more to do.
weep but rarely. And yourself, are you pined a short time, and died.
happy?" “ The evening before her death she made me I did not reply to Ursule's question. To speak sit down near her bed-side, and took one of my of happiness to her, would have been like speak hands her own trembling hands : 'Adieu ! my ing of an ungrateful friend before those he had poor Ursule !' she said to me. My only regret forgotten. is to part from you. Have courage; take good On a lovely morning in autumn, a few months care of mother and father. They are good, Ur- later, I was about leaving my home for a visit to sule; they love us, although they do not always Ursule, when a young lieutenant belonging to the tell us so.
Take care of your health, for them. regiment which at that time garrisoned the small You must not die until after they do. Adieu ! town I lived in, came to see me. Finding me my good sister ; do not weep much for me ; pray about to depart he offered me his arm, and we to God often and we will meet again, directed our steps toward the narrow little alley Ursule!'
in which Ursule resided. Chance made me speak “ Three days after, Marthe was carried from of her; of the interest I felt for her ; and, as the here, laid in her coffin, and I remained alone with young officer, whom I shall call Maurice d'Erval, my parents.
appeared to take pleasure in the conversation, I “When I informed my poor blind mother of walked more slowly. When we reached the my sister's death, she gave one loud scream, made little gray house, I had related to him all Ursule's a few steps at hazard about the room, and then history. He looked at her with interest and fell full upon her knees. I went to her, assisted pity ; bowed to her, and left us. Ursule, embarher to rise, and carried her back to her arm-chair. rassed by the presence of a stranger, when she Since then she has neither complained nor wept; only expected to see me, had faintly blushed. I only she has become even more silent than before, know not whether it was caused by the momentary and I observe more often than formerly the beads animation of her complexion, or whether it was of her rosary pass through her fingers.
only the interest I felt in her, but the poor girl “I have scarcely anything more to tell you. certainly seemed almost handsome. My father became completely childish. We lost I could not describe the vague thoughts which some of the little fortune which was our only crossed my mind. I regarded Ursule for a long comfort. I was desirous that my parents might time; and then, absorbed by my reflections, withnot perceive it. To deceive them was easy. One out speaking to her 1 arose ; I passed my hands could comprehend nothing ; the other could not see. over the bands of her hair, and brought it down I commenced to embroider, and sold my work se- lower over her pale cheeks. I unfastened a narcretly. I had no longer any one to talk with row black velvet ribband, which I wore round my since my sister's death. I am fond of reading ; neck, tied it round hers, and took up a few flowand I can never read ; I have to work; I never go ers and placed them in her belt. Ursule smiled, out except on Sundays, and I do not go far then, without comprehending. Ursule's smile always for I am alone.
pained me. There is nothing so mournful as the "A few years ago, when I was younger, I smile of an unhappy person! They seem to used to muse a great deal, seated at this window, smile for the pleasure of others, not of themselves. looking at the sky! I peopled my solitude with Many days passed before I again saw Maurice a thousand fancies, which lessened the tedious d'Erval ; many more before chance led me with length of the day. Now a sort of lethargy seems him toward the gray house. But it did happen. to deaden my thoughts; I muse no more. It was while returning from a gay promenade, in
“As I was young and rather pretty, I had which quite a little party of us had been engaged. hoped, at random, for some, I scarcely knew Entering the town, we dispersed in different direcwhat, change in my destiny. Now I am twenty- tions ; and I took Maurice d'Erval's arm, to make nine years old. Sorrow, even more than years, a visit to Ursule’s. It was done thoughtlessly ; has withered my appearance !- -all is told ! but it occasioned me an involuntary, keen emotion, -I expect nothing ; I hope no more; and 1 and I spoke no more, my mind being filled with a will finish here my isolated days.
thousand fancies. It seemed impossible that the